Beneficiary Deed Can Be Challenged If Undue Influence

By Christopher Combs | May 5, 2024

Question: For the last twenty years my mother has lived in a nice home in the Tatum Ranch community in North Phoenix. We live in Flagstaff, but have come down regularly to visit my mother. My sister lives in Tucson but rarely has visited my mother. My mother was in relatively good health at 91 years of age. Two weeks ago, however, she unexpectedly passed away. My mother’s only asset was her “free and clear” Tatum Ranch home worth $780,000. At a meeting with my sister yesterday, my sister produced a beneficiary deed recorded a month ago from my mother…


Partition Lawsuit Required If Brother and Sister Can’t Agree on Who Inherits Home

By Christopher Combs | April 14, 2024

Question: My mother owned a home in the Red Mountain area of Mesa for more than 20 years. She recently passed away. Before she passed away she recorded a beneficiary deed 50/50 for her home, to me and to my sister who lives in Oregon. The home is worth $850,000. My sister needs money so she wants to sell the home as soon as possible. My home is only two miles away from my mother’s home and I want to rent my mother’s home for rental income for both me and my sister. I told my sister that I will…


Beneficiary Deed Can Only be Used by a Natural Person

By Christopher Combs | December 3, 2023

Question: My mother is the trustee of her revocable living trust (“RLT”), with me as the sole beneficiary.  The only asset in the RLT is my mother’s Sun City home.  My mother wants to simplify things and record a beneficiary deed to me for her home, which beneficiary deed will not be effective until her death.  Can my mother, as the trustee of her RLT, execute a beneficiary deed to me? Answer:  No. The Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled that a beneficiary deed is only valid upon the death of a “natural person” who owned the real property.  238…


After Father Deeds Home to Mother, the Mortgage Lender Cannot Require Payment of Entire Mortgage

By Christopher Combs | November 12, 2023

Question: Four years ago my mom and dad, who are in their 70s, bought a nice home in Wickenburg with a $420,000 mortgage. They recently separated for whatever reason, and my dad deeded the Wickenburg home to my mother. Although my mother is current on the mortgage payments, my mother is now worried that the mortgage lender will require payment of the entire $420,000 mortgage. Can the mortgage lender do that? Answer: Probably not. Although your mother’s mortgage probably has a “due on sale” clause, which requires that the entire mortgage be paid when there is any transfer of the…


Spouse Has Lien on Property for Community Payment

By Christopher Combs | October 15, 2023

Question: I purchased a home in Payson when I was single with a $20,000 down payment. The deed to the home even says “a single man.” I was married six months later. All of the monthly mortgage payments and repair costs since our marriage have been made from our family checking account. After eight years of marriage, my wife moved out and filed for divorce. She said that her divorce attorney told her that she has a lien on our home, although her name has never been on the deed. Does my wife have a lien on our home that…


Without A Revocable Trust, A Probate Will Be Necessary

By Christopher Combs | September 11, 2022

Question: My wife and I have lived in California our entire lives. My wife recently passed away. Although I want to keep our home in California, I would like to buy a second home in North Phoenix. Should I buy the home in North Phoenix with some type of trust? Answer: Probably. You should contact an attorney who specializes in Trusts and Estates. In general, if an individual owns a home or other real property in two or more states, a revocable living trust should be considered. The reason is that, if your home or other real property in two…


Who Gets the Condo, the Husband or the Son?

By Christopher Combs | August 7, 2022

Question: In the winter months my husband and I live in our Scottsdale condominium. Our deed says “community property with right of survivorship.”  I have a son from my first marriage who is attending Arizona State University, and I want my son to have my interest in the Scottsdale condominium after I die. My will and my revocable living trust say that my son is my only beneficiary. When I die will my son inherit my interest in the Scottsdale condominium? My husband does not like my son so I cannot even discuss this issue with him. Answer:  No. If…


Short-Term Rentals Can Adversely Affect Communities

By Christopher Combs | June 19, 2022

Question: Last week you discussed the comments of a happy owner of a short-term rental home in Peoria that was rented during the six weeks of the baseball spring training season. We are from South Dakota and are not familiar with short-term rentals. Why is there such a controversy about short-term rentals in Arizona? Answer: Prefatory comment: I am reminded of the great WWF wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper, dressed in his famous kilt, yelling back at an angry, booing crowd, and saying, “Just when you think you know all the answers, I change the questions!” RIP Roddy. Arizona was the…